Starbucks Red Eye Coffee: Recipe To Wake You UP

Few things are worse than taking a red-eye flight. But what if there was a little something that could make this experience more bearable? Introducing a secret menu item – Starbucks Red Eye coffee.

A potent beverage with a substantial amount of caffeine that makes up for a couple of hours of sleep. Eager to give it a go?

Here’s what you can expect.

Topics Explored

  1. What Is A Red Eye Coffee At Starbucks?
  2. How Much Caffeine Is In It?
  3. Why Is It Call Red Eye Coffee
  4. How to Make Red Eye Coffee From Home?
  5. What Does It Taste & Look Like?
  6. How To Order One At Starbucks?
  7. More Questions

What Is A Red Eye Coffee At Starbucks?

The Starbucks Red Eye is a cup of regularly brewed coffee with one shot of espresso. It’s often confused with the Americano, which is a shot of espresso and hot water.

With double the amount of coffee, the Red Eye is a powerful pick-me-up. You can get it at any Starbucks even though it’s not part of the regular menu.

Shot Into Coffee

The red eye coffee originated in the US and was introduced sometime around the late ’90s. It started as a secret menu item at Starbucks but has now spread out to regular coffee shops.

It worked perfectly for those who need focus and alertness but don’t have time for a couple of cups of coffee.

How Much Caffeine Is In It?

Pour Cold Brew Over Ice

The amount of caffeine in a red eye coffee depends on the Starbucks beverage size. According to the USDA, a shot of espresso has 60 mg caffeine(1). But Starbucks’ shots are around 75 mg(2), so the Starbucks Red Eye coffee has higher caffeine amounts.

Different brews also have varying caffeine levels. The Pike Place roast, for example, has more caffeine.

The chart below shows us the average caffeine for a Starbucks Red Eye, depending on the size.

  Short Tall Grande
Espresso: 75 mg 75 mg 75 mg
House Coffee: 130 mg 195 mg 260 mg
Total Caffeine: 205 mg 270 mg 335 mg

Why Is It Call Red Eye Coffee

The Red Eye coffee began as a go-to order of tired people catching the red-eye flight from the east to the west coast. People spent the night traveling, so they needed more than a regular coffee to survive the day.

The word quickly spread out, and the winning combo of brewed coffee and an espresso shot got named Red Eye.

How To Order a Red Eye In Starbucks?

Pulling Shot


If ordering online, start by loading the Starbucks app. Choose a brewed coffee of your choice. If available at your location, choose one of the roasts we recommend. Then select the size of your beverage. Next, in the Espresso & Shot option, select 1 shot. Get in your car and go pick up your Red Eye coffee.


When ordering in-store, dare to ask your barista for a “Red Eye”. Most of them have prepared it before since it’s an older secret menu item. If they don’t know about it, simply describe the drink and the preparation method. Ask for the brewed coffee of the day and add a shot of espresso.

How to Make It From Home?

Sure, you can get Starbucks Red Eye coffee, but what if you don’t like it? Save your money and try it at home instead. If it hits the right spot, you’ll be able to make it anytime you want. The recipe is simplistic and requires minimal effort.

How to Make Starbucks Red Eye Coffee

How to Make Starbucks Red Eye Coffee

Yield: 1 serving (12 oz)
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes

This easy recipe will have you making the Starbucks Red Eye coffee from home in under 8 mins.


  • Ground espresso: Enough for 1 shot
  • Ground coffee: 2 tablespoons
  • Enough water for espresso machine and coffee maker


    1. Start by preparing the brewed coffee. First, choose your preferred style of brewing coffee: a French Press, drip coffee maker, or a pour-over method.French Press
    2. Pour enough water into your coffee maker to brew at least 11 oz coffee. Then, add two tablespoons of your preferred roast and let it brew.Coffee into French Press
    3. If you made more coffee, measure out only 11 oz, which we'll use, and leave the rest aside. Now we need to make the espresso. Brewed Coffee
    4. Brew one shot or 1 oz of espresso in a cup using an espresso machine or a Moka pot. Get another cup with at least 12 oz capacity. Pull Espresso Shots
    5. Place the brewed coffee in the large cup and slowly add the espresso, so some crema remains on the top. If you switch the order, the crema will get diluted and disappear. Red Eye Pour
    6. Your homemade Red Eye coffee is done! While the original is served plain, feel free to add sweetener or some milk according to taste.Starbucks Red Eye Coffee

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What Does It Taste & Look Like?

If you’ve never had a red eye coffee, you wouldn’t know what to expect. The amount of coffee might sound overwhelming. But once you try it, you’ll notice how the two types of coffee are incorporated ideally, and the taste is not too intense. 

Colada in Tacitas


The red eye is made of simple ingredients: ground coffee, ground espresso, and water. The ratio is 1 cup of brewed coffee to 1 shot of espresso.

There’s nothing exotic or unknown in its ingredients, but you can customize it. Add sweetener or a dairy product like cream or milk if you’d like.


There’s nothing too remarkable about the appearance of the red eye coffee. It’s regular black coffee with the addition of crema from the espresso. The crema gets diluted, so it’s in a thinner layer.

Due to the espresso, the red eye is much darker than regular brew when viewed under direct light.


The flavor is strong and punchy, but not enough to make you jittery, unlike the black eye coffee. But it does have a slight bitterness. The brewed coffee dictates the flavor notes as it’s the more significant component.

Go for  Dark Roast, Blonde Roast, or Pike Place for the best flavor. 


A red eye coffee has nearly zero calories. This makes it a great option for those on a low sugar or keto diet. The caffeine content, however, is very high.

A single cup can have around 200 to 350 mg of caffeine. Since the recommended dose is 400 mg per day for an adult(3)., you can easily go overboard.

Final Words

Starbucks Red Eye Coffee

Coffee is a stimulant we use daily to get our mind and body moving. It’s not a replacement for healthy sleep, but we can use it for extra endorsement on occasion.

In the ’90s baristas started providing sleepless flyers with a brewed coffee and espresso combo that helped them go through the day. Today the Starbucks Red Eye coffee is a drive-by away ready to help you tackle the day.

More Questions

Is a Red Eye coffee Strong?

A short size of the Red Eye coffee has almost half of your daily recommended caffeine intake. It’s strong but not nearly as much as its cousin – the green eye coffee. The power depends on the brewed coffee as it’s the larger component. Also, different roasts produce different strengths.

How many shots of espresso are in a Red Eye?

A Red Eye has only one shot of espresso per cup of brewed coffee. It’s the first of the “eyes” coffees and the least potent. The Black Eye coffee features two shots, and the Green Eye has an incredible three espresso shots per cup. So while it’s not as mild as regular brewed coffee, the Red Eye is still somewhat close to normal coffee.

Is the Starbucks Red Eye a secret menu item?

The Starbucks Red Eye coffee is so popular you’d think it’s a staple menu item. But even after decades, it still hasn’t made the cut to the official menu. When ordering, you’d have to explain the drink to your barista. Luckily most of them are familiar with the drink.

Verified Sources

Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:

  1. USDA:
  2. Starbucks Espresso:
  3. Mayo Clinic:
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